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Periodontitis associates with species-specific gene expression of the oral microbiota
Reference: npj Biofilms and Microbiomes (2021) 7: 76

The purpose of the present investigation was to characterize species-specific bacterial activity of the oral microbiota in periodontitis. We tested the hypotheses that chronic inflammation, i.e., periodontitis, associates with bacterial gene expression of the oral microbiota. Oral microbial samples were collected from three oral sites-subgingival plaque, tongue, and saliva from patients with periodontitis and healthy controls. Paired metagenomics and metatranscriptomics were used to perform concomitant characterisation of taxonomic composition and to determine species-specific bacterial activity as expressed by the ratio of specific messenger RNA reads to their corresponding genomic DNA reads. Here, we show the association of periodontitis with bacterial gene expression of the oral microbiota. While oral site was the main determinant of taxonomic composition as well as bacterial gene expression, periodontitis was significantly associated with a reduction of carbohydrate metabolism of the oral microbiota at three oral sites (subgingival plaque, tongue, and saliva). Data from the present study revealed the association of periodontitis with bacterial gene expression of the oral microbiota. Conditions of periodontitis was associated with bacterial activity of local subgingival plaque, but also on tongue and the salivary microbiota. Collectively, data suggest that periodontitis associates with impaired carbohydrate metabolism of the oral microbiota. Future longitudinal and interventional studies are warranted to evaluate the potential pathogenic role of impaired bacterial carbohydrate metabolism not only in periodontitis but also in other diseases with low-grade inflammation, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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